Tough choices

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Web-based inter-disciplinary guided inquiry on Slavery.

Text of Tough choices

  • 1. YOU Tough Choices&How to Make Them A modern day lesson learned through the Civil War.

2. Index 3. Expectations

  • Students will write journals entries, from a variety of perspectives including that of being a slave, demonstrating their knowledge about life in 19 thcentury America.
  • Students will complete the Following the Drinking Gourd packet.
  • Students will solve the History Mystery.
  • Students will create a flow chart to track Abraham Lincolns decision process that lead to emancipation.
  • Students will complete an authentic problem solving exercise on the choice between conventionally and organically grown cotton and prepare an in-class presentation supporting their final decision.

4. Slavery in America

  • Lam
  • Workers tend planted fields
  • Involuntarily committed
  • To the fluffy white fibers
  • Of their masters.
  • Trapped within
  • Mud walls
  • Of the one-room quarters
  • At aunties house.
  • So many brothers
  • None of them my own
  • Branded family
  • By the stripes on our backs.
  • Gospel songs
  • Echo hope
  • Of wading waters
  • Following the drinking gourd.

5. Slavery in America

  • Lam implies several themes within slavery:
    • Hard labor
    • Poor living conditions
    • Families split apart
    • Inhumane treatment
    • Religious beliefs
    • Desire for freedom
  • Lets look at these themes in more depth.

6. Life as a Slave

  • Click on pictures to read about these former slaves lives .
  • Journal Entry #1
    • Write a memoir about a specific event in your life as a slave.Make sure that your account contains aspects of at least 3 of the 6 themes of slavery.( Click here to review themes )

7. Slavery in America

  • Lam implies several themes within slavery:
    • Hard labor
    • Poor living conditions
    • Families split apart
    • Inhumane treatment
    • Religious beliefs
    • Desire for freedom
  • Lets look at these themes in more depth.

8. Quilts of Freedom

  • Journal Entry 2
    • Create quilt squares that would represent important landmarks on your journey from school to home.
    • Tradequilts with another student.Can they find their way to your house?
  • Slaves used quilts with hidden symbols to map the path of freedom.
  • Can you guess what these quilt squares represent?
  • Click on the squares to see if you are right and to learn more!

1 2 3 4 9. North Star

  • Cryptology and The Slave Quilts
  • Cryptology or secret writing is an ancient art that has been used in innumerable ways by countless cultures and empires since the dawn of time. From an American perspective, cryptology has always been part of the fight to preserve freedom. The history of America and of secret communications includes many examples of enterprising men and women who, with little in the way of resources, developed innovative devices and systems that have become a part of this cryptologic legacy of freedom. One of the most inspiring stories is the creation of slave quilts in the early and mid-1800s. The secret messages embedded in the quilts, some say, assisted slaves from the South in their efforts to escape to freedom in the North. Each quilt contained a specific code or message that conveyed important information to those who were attempting the dangerous journey from the southern regions of the nation to the free states and Canada.

10. Wagon Wheel

  • The Fugitive Slave Laws and the Underground Railroad
  • Almost from our republic's inception, those who held slaves were concerned with protecting what they perceived as their "property." Those in bondage were subjected to a harsh and cruel existence. As one would expect, many who found themselves in this situation quickly determined that their only hope was escape. In an effort to assist the slave owners in the protection of their "property," Congress passed fugitive slave laws in 1793 and 1850. These directives were specifically designed to put a stop to "runaway slaves" and to make it easier for slave owners to pursue slaves who had fled to the free states. The fugitive slave laws made the prospect of fleeing to the North a difficult process. In order to be successful, it was necessary to utilize stealth and deception. In short, individuals trying to escape would have a difficult time trying to go it alone. The loose network formed to meet these challenges was termed "the Underground Railroad." Quakers began the "railroad" in 1780, and by 1830 it had achieved legendary status among those who sought to escape slavery. "Conductors" would see to it that the "passengers" made it to border points such as Cincinnati, Ohio, and Wilmington, Delaware, or to Great Lake ports such as Detroit, Michigan, or Buffalo, New York, for quick passage to Canada.

11. Crossroads

  • How the System Worked
  • In order for the Underground Railroad to work effectively, it was necessary to relay information to those attempting to make the trip to freedom. Direct communication, however, was not an option. Any overt signal would be quickly discovered. In order to overcome this problem, the principals involved created a system based on designs sewn into quilts that could be conspicuously displayed in appropriate places. Like any good system of subterfuge, the quilts appeared as commonplace items to the adversaries of fugitive slaves. However, to those in flight, the quilts were an encouraging symbol that advised them of the who, what, when, and how of their journey to freedom. Many of the symbols sewn into the patterns are obvious in their meanings, such as the monkey wrench, which denoted that it was time to gather the tools required to make the journey, or sailboats, which indicated the availability of boats for the crossing of crucial bodies of water. Other symbols were more cryptic, such as the star pattern, which had several variations but whose purpose was to point to the North Star. The Drunkard's Path pattern served to remind those on the run to move east to west (in much the way a drunken man staggers) during their journey. In short, the quilts were an invaluable aid in finding safe houses and in providing instructions, warnings, or reminders to those who were desperately trying to avoid capture.

12. Log Cabin

  • "Follow the Drinking Gourd"
  • In retrospect, one can truly admire the intellectual effort put into the design of the system. History records that over 60,000 individuals were able to make it to freedom due to the existence of the Underground Railroad. How many of these intrepid travelers made it north due to the secret messages displayed in the quilts will never be known. What can be said is that the quilt system, like the array of code making and code breaking devices used throughout our nation's history to preserve freedom, serves as a testament to human innovation and accomplishment in the face of adversity. One can imagine the comfort these inventive designs provided to those who had made the dangerous, but ultimately worthwhile, decision to "follow the drinking gourd." The term "drinking gourd" is from a popular song of the time: It refers to the North Star, which served a major navigation guide to those pursuing liberty and freedom.
  • "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King, Birmingham Alabama, 1963

13. Songs of Freedom

  • Many slave songs were also coded with directions on how to escape to freedom.
  • Follow the Drinking Gourd, which referred to the big dipper in the northern sky, was one such song.
  • Click on the book to watch a video.

A Drinking Gourd 14. Songs of Freedom

  • Songs werent only a way to map out freedom.They also expressed daily life.
  • Click on the picture to watch a video about the meaning of music in the African-American culture.
  • Journal Entry # 3
    • Write about a song that makes you feel better when you listen to it.Does singing out loud lift your spirits?

A life of their own: music and dance in the Slave Quarter at Carters Grove in Colonial Williamsburg. 15. Mapping Freedom

  • Click on Map to open document and print.
  • Read pages 1 4 to review covered material .
  • Complete pages 5 - 9 to turn in.

16. The Slavery Controversy

  • Some people called abolitionists wanted to end slavery.
    • They believed that slavery was ethically & spiritually wrong.
    • Click on History Mystery to learn more about abolition.

17. The Slavery Controversy

  • Many others wanted to keep slavery in the United States.
    • The